Current Tobacco Use:





3.5 million

Adult Tobacco Smokers:


Annual Deaths Caused by Tobacco:



Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies

Data are necessary to implement and evaluate effective tobacco control policies. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and tracking key tobacco control indicators.

In Uruguay, the National Statistics Institute under coordination by the National Program for Tobacco Control of the Ministry of Public Health conducted GATS Round 1 in 2009 and GATS Round 2 in 2017.

Adult tobacco smoking decreased

GATS Uruguay 2009 and 2017

*Comparisons are significant at p<.05; Difference is larger than can be reasonably explained by chance and therefore reflects a true difference.


Protect people from tobacco smoke

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The sole intervention that can fully protect people from the health dangers of secondhand smoke is creating environments that are completely smoke-free without any exceptions.

Uruguay is First Country in the Americas to Become 100% Smoke-free

Uruguay became 100 percent smoke-free in 2006. Before this policy was in place, Uruguay had partial restrictions on smoking in public places. The new ban included prohibiting smoking in public and private workplaces.

To promote the legislation, the government launched the “A Million Thanks” campaign, where over 1 million signatures were collected which thanked smokers for respecting smoke-free environments.

Adults exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace decreased significantly from 16.5% in 2009 to 11.1% in 2017.

Offer help to quit tobacco use

When informed of the risks, most tobacco users want to quit, but few get help and support to overcome their dependence. There are several evidence-based supports that can increase the chance to quit successfully.

Uruguay Winner of 2015 Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards Global Tobacco Control

As part of the nation’s Tobacco Control law in 2008, Uruguay mandated that all health care providers offer smoking cessation support to their customers. Additionally, Uruguay is integrating both public and private health care organizations into a unified national health system, which will aid its citizens in receiving advice through primary care physicians. ​

Adult smokers who were advised to quit by a health care provider

-GATS Uruguay 2017

Evidence from around the world shows increasingly that plain packaging works to reduce tobacco use as part of countries’ tobacco control strategies. This is why tobacco companies fear plain packaging and fight so hard to block it.
- Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Warn about the dangers of tobacco

Effective health warning labels provide health messages directly to tobacco users, which raises awareness of their health risks and increase the likelihood that they will reduce tobacco use or quit altogether.

Uruguay Defeats Philip Morris International in Legal Battle

Since 2005, Uruguay has implemented several tobacco control measures (including 80 percent graphic warning on the front and back of the cigarette pack and the Single Presentation Requirement that limits each cigarette brand to just a single variant or brand type). In 2010, Philip Morris International filed a lawsuit alleging these laws violated a Bilateral Investment Treaty. In 2016, Uruguay won the litigation and the country serves as an example for others around the world that are fighting against the tobacco industry.

To strengthen Uruguay’s tobacco control policies around warning about the dangers of tobacco, Uruguay’s president, Tabaré Vázquez, announced on 6 August 2018 that starting in February 2019, the country would mandate tobacco products be sold in plain packaging. This will make Uruguay the first country in the Americas to require plain packaging.​

Adults who noticed health warning labels on cigarette packaging

-GATS Uruguay 2017


Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) increase tobacco use. Comprehensive TAPS bans have shown to reduce tobacco consumption.

Ban on Tobacco Promotion at Point of Sale

In 2014, Uruguay completed its ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship by implementing a new ban on tobacco product promotion and display at the point of sale.​


Adults who noticed any tobacco advertisement, sponsorship or promotion decreased

GATS Uruguay 2009 and 2017

*Comparisons are significant at p<.05; Difference is larger than can be reasonably explained by chance and therefore reflects a true difference.


Raise taxes on tobacco

The most effective way to reduce tobacco use and encourage tobacco users to quit is to raise taxes to increase the price of tobacco products.

Tobacco Taxes in Uruguay Increase with Inflation

Uruguay has a tax structure based on fixed reference prices that are set by the government and adjusted approximately every 6 to 12 months to keep pace with inflation. ​


Cost and spending on cigarettes

GATS Uruguay 2017


View the full GATS Uruguay report: